Wednesday 20 February 2019

Rebecca and the King of All Snails

(Reposting. This was written some years ago as a birthday gift for my friend Rebecca Lowe.)

Thursday 7 February 2019

On a Thousand Walls #16: Gremlins (1984)

When Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel originally reviewed Gremlins, Ebert described the film as a haunting. It haunted the portrayal of Small Town America, he said, to which Siskel replied, “It's like a Norman Rockwell painting, where there's blood on the turkey.” And that's pretty insightful because Gremlins is, for all of its eighties wackiness, a haunted film, one that engages with the history of the Cinematic American Town, and its subset, the Small Town Christmas Movie; issues of class and economic injustice are raised and not solved; post-war urban myths pepper the whole thing.

Tuesday 5 February 2019

Your Move, Darwin #9: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

In a sense, I can't help thinking, how did this even happen? I mean, I know how it happened technically, factually: someone said, let's revive the Planet of the Apes, and the right combination of executives, creative talent and money providers happened to be in the right place at the right time and they made another (Noun) (Preposition) the Planet of the Apes. But that's not really what I meant there. What I mean is that I can't help but marvel at the simple fact that anyone might think that making what amounts to a prequel series to a screen sci fi franchise that had at this stage been dead in the water for about 35 years – and yes, that includes the Tim Burton attempt a decade before, which if anything just provided a practical demonstration, a reinforcement that the franchise was over – was a good idea. OK, we're doing Planet of the Apes again. Which version, though?

Hollywood generally, if given the choice between the safe and predictable course and, you know, the interesting one, will take the former every time So you would naturally assume that if someone wanted to defibrillate the Planet of the Apes franchise, they’d do what they did with the last three goes, that is, go with the Space Gulliver option, where someone heroic lands on an actual Planet of the Apes. Full of apes. Where the apes got smart and took over.

But they didn't.